The CIEE Academic Consortium Board: Driving Excellence in International Education
The cornerstone of CIEE’s program quality is the Academic Consortium Board (ACB). Independently elected, the ACB is comprised of exemplary leaders in international education from the nation's finest colleges and universities. For nearly 70 years, CIEE has drawn on the expertise of its consortium members to ensure that every study abroad program meets the highest standards for academic quality, intercultural exchange, and student safety.
The ACB includes vice presidents, deans, and directors with more than 100 years of collective experience in developing and implementing high-quality international programs at a diverse group of schools – from small liberal arts colleges to large land grant institutions. This expert group approves all CIEE programs, conducts annual program reviews, and leads site evaluations for each of CIEE’s more than 200 study abroad programs in over 40 countries.
The ACB provides CIEE consortium member schools and their students with the most rigorous quality assurance programs in the field. What’s more, the board shares its reports with the broader exchange community, as part of CIEE’s longstanding drive for program quality and transparency.
At CIEE, providing academic excellence and the best experience for our students is our number one priority. Our dedication to valuable, high-quality programs makes us an industry leader, and the ACB is the guiding force behind this commitment.
Meet Our Board Members
Colorado State University
International Programs, Laurel Hall
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Kathleen Fairfax is the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Colorado State University. She oversees a staff of more than 40 professionals within International Programs, and collaborates with colleges and units across campus to implement the University’s internationalization initiatives. She also serves on the President’s Cabinet and the Council of Deans.
Prior to CSU, Fairfax served as the Assistant Vice President for International Affairs at South Dakota State University. Her career has also included serving as Vice Provost for Global Education Services at Arizona State University, Director of the Office of Study Abroad at Michigan State University and at Purdue University, as well as similar roles at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she was a tenured Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Information Agency, serving in Washington, D.C. as a Fulbright Program Office, and at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City as Assistant Cultural Attaché for exchange programs. Fairfax holds a master's degree in political science/international relations from Indiana University/Bloomington and a bachelor's degree in political science and Spanish from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
Fairfax is a member of NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, the Council on International Educational Exchange, the Forum on Education Abroad, and the Association of International Education Administrators. She also represents CSU on the Commission of International Initiatives at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU).
Mary Ryan Dando
ACB Vice Chair for Program Development
University of Colorado at Boulder
Office of International Education
Boulder, CO 80309-0123
Mary is director of study abroad programs at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder), where she oversees operations for 350 study abroad programs in 65 countries, sending more than 1,100 students abroad each year. Previously, Mary served as program manager at CU-Boulder and as study abroad advisor and acting director of the Office of Study Abroad at the University of Kansas. She holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a master’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in English, French, and history from the University of Kansas.
Sarah E. Spencer
ACB Vice Chair for Member Relations
Co-founder & Director, Global Strategy
The Global Leadership League
Sarah E. Spencer began her work in international education in 1993, and is the former director of study abroad at the University of St. Thomas. She is co-editor of the first and second editions of The Guide to Successful Short-term Programs Abroad, the only publication that supports both faculty and international offices in the development and management of short-term programs. Sarah also spent a decade co-chairing workshops on short-term programs and preparing faculty to direct such programs, and serving in leadership positions within NAFSA, including representing SECUSSA in Region IV and Education and Training. Currently, Sarah serves on the Forum on Education Abroad Council and co-chairs its Strategic Alliances, Infrastructure, and Resources Working Group. She is also active in the field’s professionalization efforts, including workshops and conference sessions.
Woody Pelton, J.D.
ACB Evaluations Coordinator
Dean of International Programs
Carlton Building 119A
2375 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
Woody is dean of international programs at Elon University. He leads education abroad and international programming on campus, in addition to directing the Isabella Cannon International Centre, which supervises inbound international students, faculty, and scholars. Previously, Woody served as director of the International Center at Winthrop University, special assistant to the president for international programs at Saginaw Valley State University, education advisor for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. He holds a doctorate of law from George Washington University’s National Law Center, and a master’s degree in student personnel services in higher education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Robert E. Fallon, MBA, Chair, CIEE Board of Directors
President and CEO
Phosplatin Therapeutics LLC
1350 Avenue of the Americas, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019
Robert is president and CEO of Phosplatin Therapeutics, a company he helped found that is developing a novel class of anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs. He is also on the advisory board for the Korea Economic Institute, a trustee of the Ohio University Foundation, a professional fellow of the Center on Japanese Economy and Business at Columbia University, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, Robert served as adjunct professor in finance and economics at Columbia Business School, chairman of Korea Exchange Bank, and Asia-Pacific division head for Chase Manhattan Bank. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ohio University.
Rebecca A. Bergren
Dean for Global Initiatives & Director, Center for Global Education
Gettysburg, PA 17325 USA
Rebecca is Dean for Global Initiatives and Director of the Center for Global Education at Gettysburg College where she serves as the senior international officer. Prior to her appointment at Gettysburg, she was Associate Director of the Study Abroad Office at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During the past 25 years, Rebecca has been active in the larger education abroad community, having served on numerous boards and committees, and participating regularly as a speaker at national and international conferences. She currently serves as a Peer Review for the Forum on Education Abroad’s Quality Improvement Program (QUIP). She holds a Master's Degree in Community Services Administration from Alfred University, NY and has studied, lived, and worked in Ecuador and England.
Director, Penn Abroad
University of Pennsylvania
Nigel Cossar leads Penn Abroad, the department overseeing education abroad programs and policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Nigel has worked in various roles in international education for 15 years, in institutions and not-for-profit organizations in Australia and the US. Nigel has held previous leadership positions in international education associations including the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), and is a past Council Member of the Forum on Education Abroad, and has presented at numerous international education conferences including ACAD, AIEC, APAIE, NAFSA, EAIE and the Forum as well as led numerous education abroad strategic reviews and consultations. Nigel earned his graduate degree from the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne.
Adam Henry, Ed.D.
Director, Study Abroad Office
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 874003
Interdisciplinary B, 255
Tempe, AZ 85287-4003
Adam is director of study abroad at Arizona State University (ASU). He directs the long-term vision of study abroad at ASU and its connection across disciplines. He is charged to lead the office and work closely with a wide array of ASU faculty and upper administration to develop and advance study abroad goals and initiatives for the institution. At ASU, he also teaches in the School of Politics and Global Studies and the College of Integrated Sciences and Arts. Previously, Adam worked for an international non-governmental organization including three years of living/working in China. He holds a doctorate of education, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in international relations.
Mary E. McMahon, Ph.D.
UC Education Abroad Program
University of California
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Mary is currently a lecturer for the University of California (UC) Education Abroad Program and UCSB, where she oversees internship engagement and teaches courses to UC students studying abroad. Over the last 25 years, she held managerial positions in international education at UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UCLA. She holds a doctorate in education, and master’s in political science from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in Asian studies and bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley.
Scott Pentzer, Ph.D.
School of Record ACB Observer
Associate Dean for Global Education
Center for Global Education
6901 Willow Street
New Orleans, LA 70118
Scott is Associate Dean for Global Education at Tulane, where he oversees offices dedicated to study abroad, international student and scholar services, and ESL programming. Scott works closely with CIEE to manage Tulane’s School of Record partnership with CIEE, and sits as an observer on the ACB. Scott holds a masters and Ph.D. from Tulane University in Latin American Studies, and has lived, worked, and studied in Mexico, Peru, and Costa Rica.
Prior to returning to Tulane in 2009, Scott held administrative and teaching positions at Southern Methodist University, the U.S. Student Programs division of the Institute for International Education, and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Director, Education Abroad
Glavin Office of Multicultural and International Education
231 Forest Street, Hollister Hall
Babson Park, MA 02457-0310
Lorien Romito, Director of Education Abroad at Babson College, has worked in international education for 11 years. Lorien holds a MA in International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute and a BA in International Affairs and Spanish from the University of New Hampshire. Previous roles include Director, International Programs at Endicott College, Associate Director for the Center for International Programs at Saint Mary’s College of California and the Academic Relations Manager at Intrax Cultural Exchange. Lorien is a founding member of Lessons from Abroad and has presented at NAFSA, CIEE, Diversity Abroad and The Forum on Education Abroad conferences. Lorien has lived, worked and studied in Spain, Costa Rica and France and speaks Spanish.
Maxine J. Sample, Ph.D.
Director of International Education, Dr. George H. Bennett Office for International Education
Virginia State University
P.O. Box 9086
Virginia State University, Virginia 23806
Maxine is director of international education at the Dr. George H. Bennett Office for International Education at Virginia State University (VSU). Under her leadership, participation in study abroad by VSU students has increased by 300 percent. She is also professor of English at VSU. Previously, Maxine served as English professor and coordinator of Africana studies at VSU. She holds a doctorate in comparative literature from Emory University, a master’s degree in African-American studies and literature from Clark Atlanta University, and a bachelor’s degree in English education from The College of New Jersey.
Associate Provost for International Education
College of Charleston
Andrew Sobiesuo is the Associate Provost for International Education and Director of the Center for International Education at College of Charleston in South Carolina, a public university, where he provides leadership in the development, implementation and management of all international programs and services. After completing his B.A. degree at the University of Ghana, Legon, he studied Hispanic Philology at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and subsequently completed an M.A. and Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. A tenured member of the College of Charleston faculty, Sobiesuo previously taught at Ohio Wesleyan University and The Ohio State University. His research focuses on the Afro-Hispanic and diasporan literatures, international education, and diversity in education abroad. In 2013, he was awarded the International Education Administrator Fulbright Grant to the UK.
Elizabeth Wildenberg de Hernandez
Associate Director, Study Abroad
University of Iowa
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
Liz is Associate Director for Study Abroad at the University of Iowa where she has worked in various study abroad roles since 2002. In her current position she is responsible for program and internal operations and management for the office, which sends around 1200 students abroad annually. Her diverse background of experiences include earning a BA in Biology from Luther College, studying and working abroad in the United Kingdom and Ireland, serving as an agriculture sector Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, and working in Human Resources primarily employing refugees and other immigrants.